Work Smarter, Faster: 15 Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills at Work
Hospitality is all about serving guests and making them feel special… and that takes time. You don’t want to feel rushed or stressed about getting tasks done while you’re trying to solve a problem or give someone your full attention. So here are some tips make the most effective use of your time so you can work smarter, not harder.
- Plan your day. At the start of each day, take a few minutes to review your calendar and think about your goals. What are today’s most important and impactful tasks going to be? Think strategically and make a plan to meet your goals.
- Analyze how you spend your time. If you track your daily activities by keeping a time log, you’ll have a good idea how you are currently spending your time. If you know it takes you an hour to create the staff roster, you’ll know how much time to block out in your schedule.
- Take a look at your routine. Do you do the same things at the same time each day, week or month? Is it possible to group them, delegate or create a better system? Maybe the reports you do can be streamlined into a format that’s easy to use and everyone can easily contribute to. Make is simple.
- Break tasks into smaller steps. When you’re facing a large event or a big remodel, it can be daunting to think through it all the way to the end at one time. Write down each of the steps and get started, one at a time.
- Make just one to-do list. Combine all those sticky notes and take control by making one master list. Add only the most vital tasks and be honest about the stuff you’re never going to do. Eliminate those and organize your list. There are all kinds of apps available for your tablet, phone and computer. Find a good one that works for you.
- Allocate half your time to the key tasks. Make sure you’re spending at least half your time doing the most important things. Fit everything else into the other half. Don’t waste time on things that don’t have much impact.
- Stop procrastinating. We all do it… we avoid the tasks we don’t like to do, and we waste a lot of time on that. Bite the bullet and just get it done. If you can manage to remove those items first thing in the morning, you’ll feel free to focus and won’t be up against a looming deadline at the last minute.
- Ask for advice. There’s no harm in asking for advice from someone who’s already been in your shoes. They have likely learned some tricks along the way they can share with you. Be willing to listen and apply what you hear. Can’t hurt, right?
- Invest in tie management training. Train your staff from the beginning so everyone knows what they’re responsibilities are and how to do it right. You don’t want to waste time micro-managing staff when the tasks don’t really require your level of knowledge or expertise.
- Put some systems in place. If you put together some checklists for the servers, housekeepers or desk agents, you’ll eliminate having to check on whether anything has been missed or left undone. It saves time when the shift changes and you’ll know if any daily duties are complete.
- Delegate. This is where training comes in. Empower your staff by giving them the training they need and then step back and let them do the job. That will allow you to focus on your more important tasks while your staff is taking ownership of their responsibilities.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings. If you can, minimize the time you and your staff spend in meetings. Whenever possible, communicate directly, stick to a clear agenda and be sure to start and stop on time.
- Take breaks. No one can be effective by working frantically every minute of the workday. You need to move around, clear your mind and rejuvenate. It’ll make you more productive and creative and you’ll avoid the risk of burnout.
- Eliminate distractions. When you’re focusing on a task, turn off your phone, eliminate email and social media notifications and close your door, if possible. The fewer interruptions you have, the more you can concentrate on working toward your goals.
- Schedule time for the unexpected. You know it’s going to happen. Something will come up that needs your immediate attention and takes priority over whatever you’re doing. Make sure you have free time scheduled periodically into your day for just these types of events. That way, it won’t throw your day off completely and you won’t feel as stressed about the time it takes to solve the problem.